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MotoGP Australian GP

Yamaha needs ‘15 winters’ to catch Ducati in MotoGP, fears Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo has expressed fears that Yamaha will need ‘15 winters’ to catch up to current dominant MotoGP marque Ducati with its current rate of development.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

The French rider was speaking after last Saturday’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, which yielded a disappointing run to 14th place.

Quartararo was asked about Yamaha chief Massimo Meregalli’s admission that the Iwata marque will not be ready to take on the likes of Ducati as early as next season, which follows a disappointing first run with the brand’s 2024 engine in Misano testing in September.

In response, the 2021 champion said that he doesn’t consider fighting for a second premier class title to be a realistic goal, but rather to close the gap to make it feasible to finish on the podium more often than has been the case so far this season.

“We need 15 winters to really be like them [Ducati],” Quartararo said. “But, like I said, to be like them for me is not the goal [for next year].

“The goal is to get closer, because every year we make one step maybe in one area and we lose two steps in another one.

“The chassis that we had in the past was magical, you could do whatever you wanted on the bike. The bike was slow, but the bike was turning like hell.

“Now the bike is slow but it’s not turning. Of course it’s faster on the engine, but also the [other marques] improved the engine, so the difference is the same. They also improved the chassis and aero so much.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

“So, for me [the target is] to reduce the gap, because every year it’s bigger and bigger, and we have to reduce the gap for the others. This is the main goal.

“Of course I want to always fight for the championship, but to be realistic next year we will not fight for the championship. But to have more opportunities to fight for the podium, sometimes for the victory, this is my personal goal.”

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Quartararo’s contract with Yamaha expires after 2024 and the 24-year-old is likely to be a key player in next year’s silly season.

Asked by Autosport whether the level of improvement he expects from next year’s M1 would be enough to convince him to sign a new contract with Yamaha, he replied: “If I see an improvement, a clear improvement that the gap is closing, maybe.

“But I really need to see this improvement. It’s important for me to really see how much they really want to win, because I really want to win and we are pushing against a wall right now because we have no more potential.

“But, for next year and for the future I want a winning project.”

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